Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jayhawks hope to see much more of Sprint Center


Kansas University’s Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore surely are salivating over the possibility of playing as many as five more games in Sprint Center this season.

The high-scoring trio accounted for 153 of KU’s 235 points in three November games in the Kansas City, Mo., arena. That’s 65.1 percent of KU’s total points in victories over Oregon State (84-78 Friday), Saint Louis (73-59, Nov. 20) and Washington State (78-41, Nov. 19). The Jayhawks, who will play one to three games in Sprint Center during the Big 12 tournament, also are eligible for consideration to play first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games in downtown KC.

The way it adds up, Releford, a 6-foot-6 senior from Kansas City, Mo., has scored 60 points in KU’s three Sprint Center games; Withey, a 7-foot senior from San Diego, has totaled 50 points; and McLemore, a 6-5 freshman from St. Louis, has 43 points.

The ever-modest Releford, who was MVP of the recent CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Sprint Center, believes he knows the secret to his success.

“I guess being back home. I am always excited to be back here,” said the former Roeland Park Bishop Miege standout. “I get to see all my friends and family members I don’t get to see much. They don’t get a chance to come watch me at the fieldhouse a lot. I guess it’s the excitement coming into the game.”

Releford’s 16 second-half points Friday (20 overall off 8-for-10 shooting with seven rebounds, five assists) helped the Jayhawks shake a pesky Oregon State team. It’s a victory that upped the Jayhawks’ record to 6-1 and dropped the Beavers to 4-2.

“Coach wasn’t too happy with us,” Releford said of Bill Self’s postgame speech. “He told us the things we need to work on better — finishing games and closing out a half. It’s stuff we can correct and need to work on during the week.”

KU was burned by point guard Ahmad Starks, who scored 25 points off 9-of-20 shooting, including 7-of-13 from three.

“Their guard ... that was one of coach’s key things in the locker room at the end, how we need to play better on the guards,” Releford said. “The last few games, the guards have been controlling the game for the other team. We need to continue to work on things, talking on defense. That was a key to Starks getting open looks.”

Starks’ performance brought to mind some other guards. San Jose State’s James Kinney scored 30 points off 11-of-26 shooting (4-of-12 from three) in KU’s 70-57 victory Monday in Allen Fieldhouse. Also, Chattanooga’s Farad Cobb hit seven threes and scored 21 in KU’s 69-55 win on Nov. 15. Michigan State’s Keith Appling scored 19 and Gary Harris 18 in the Spartans’ 67-64 win over KU on Nov. 13.

Self said he would be considering all options, including possibly playing zone defense, if the Jayhawks don’t start improving on the ball defense.

Of the defense, Self noted: “It all comes down to this ... they guard the guy with the ball better than we guard their guy with the ball. I remember Pat Jones (former Oklahoma State football coach). He’d say, ‘Hey, they were getting our guy; we weren’t getting their guy.’’’

KU has some time to work on its flaws. The Jayhawks next meet Colorado at 1 p.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.


cool_beans 6 years, 11 months ago

Defense and guard play need to get better, at least Kentucky lost again. Plus Skyfall was a really great movie

Curtis Stutz 6 years, 11 months ago

Problem is that makes BMac guard the other teams' 3, which he isn't always big/strong enough to do. Granted it's pretty common to put a wing on the other teams' pg (MKG on TT last year for instance), but if they've got a big 3 it can create other matchup issues.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 11 months ago

I think BMac can handle it. He's 6-5. I say you have to put Releford on the best perimeter player, and then adjust.

The only real liability is Tharpe, which makes some matchups impossible.

JakeBarnes 6 years, 11 months ago

EJ isn't fast enough to be a good guard on the other team's point guard. Also a lot of 2 guards are as fast or faster than he. I hope he gets better, but I've watched him for three years now and he has problems playing defense. He's a good player, but he is playing for KU and that makes a great deal of difference. We always catch the best the other teams' guards have, and a lot of other teams have good guards. Watch the elite teams (top 20 or 25) on TV.

Curtis Stutz 6 years, 11 months ago

HEM, I like that we've got good length from 1-3, but I don't know that BMac has the weight and leg strength when those guys post him up. I think he spent a lot of time guarding TT in practice last season, so I'd rather see him guarding the opposing point and TRele staying with the 3, but I understand that BMac's defense on the perimeter hasn't been as good as Releford's.

JB, EJ is a stud, it was proven last season. He can't afford to give up fouls 'cause he's the only consistent pg. I'm honestly not the least bit concerned about his defense in the long run, but just because he's running the point on offense doesn't necessarily mean he needs to be guarding the other team's pg.

johnsont1 6 years, 11 months ago

Wonder if they're scheduling these games to get them comfortable for the tournaments haha

yates33333 6 years, 11 months ago

I think Gary is a first rate sportswriter, but these three play good in any venue. This Sprint Center BS is just that, BS.

Woody Cragg 6 years, 11 months ago

Zone def works well to confuse opponents by creating different looks & attacking points, but if you watch Baylor much you can see how it just doesn't cut it vs quick ball handlers.IMO, I think players get too lazy playing zone. When you pack it in on the bigs down low, the guards get some easy open looks or penetrate the gaps to draw fouls. "Situational" zones maybe, but from most observers is a way to get tired players an occaisional blow while on the floor, as the bench is too thin. Don't think that's our problem at this point. HCBS is more inclined to use a box & one or triangle & two, as we saw periodically in the tournament run last March. Personally I'd like to see more Rio & AWIII & all M2M, but that is not likely unless a starter gets banged up & can't go. As JB stated last week, "baptism by fire" worked in Brady's case & I'm all for at least giving it a try with these two. C'mon Bill, trust us, it'll work...yeah, right! LOL! Bill is getting used to those One seeds in March & doesn't give a flip about losing to anyone. Well, I guess if it ain't broke why try to fix it? Also helps to get him a nifty little raise now & then. RCJH!

yates33333 6 years, 11 months ago

The only good zone I've watched at the major college level in the last 35 years is the Syracuse zone. They must practice it endlessly.

jjarmstrong 6 years, 11 months ago

The Orange are also always very long. Great for a successful zone.

Jared Grillot 6 years, 11 months ago

Always a balancing act with games in KC. Makes regular schmoes happy because they can actually get tickets for them (at face value for once!), but irritate season ticket holders because they aren't included in the packages. Not sure how I feel either way, though sentimentality says play in AFH.

Curtis Stutz 6 years, 11 months ago

OOC including exhibition KU plays 15 games, 1 true road game, 1 game in Atlanta, 2 tournament games at the CBE and 1 game scheduled for the Sprint Center plus 10 in AFH. That's already way too many in AFH IMHO. Regular season that is 17 of 31 games in AFH, 10 on the road, 3 in KC and 1 in Atlanta. Season ticket holders need to check themselves if they're whining about the lack of home games. KU could have easily been in some other early season tournament a lot farther from Lawrence and played several more on the road.

Steve Gantz 6 years, 11 months ago

Is the Sprint Center the same as the former Kemper Arena, or is it a new building?

Woody Cragg 6 years, 11 months ago

Spankin a$$ new-Kemper is on the table to be razed, with more taxpayer money on the rebuild of course.

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

"Move and Recycle the Great Kemper Arena"

As an architecture buff, it is really a crime they are razing Kemper, architected for rapid construction by Helmut Jahn. It took only 18 months to build. It is perhaps the only truly significant, world class architecture constructed in the last 30-40 years in Kansas City and they are going to tear it down. Just sickening. Of course, it should never have been built in a flipping flood zone, but the building is magnificient and it was a good place to watch a game. I remember watching a few college and pro games there and loving it. All the flaws in it could easily be re-designed/re-engineered by OakvilleJHawk for tis reassembly with modern materials and fittings. The girder structures that suspect the edifice are the crucial things to be recycled. They could easily be broken down, moved and re-welded for vastly less than what will be spent on new structure. Kemper was designed in an inflationary era when cost cutting was paramount. That was why compromises were made in fitment that would not need to be made today. The concept of the building is still sound--suspending a light weight structure from a massive frame rather than building an enormously and unnecessarily complex internal frame. I guaranty you that if you gave a contemporary architect the external frame to work with today with todays modern materials

jjarmstrong 6 years, 11 months ago

I have bad memory of the joint. Was ten feet away from Wayne Simien getting his shoulder dislocated. Not fun :(

kerbyd 6 years, 11 months ago

I have always thought is was a crime the way we seem to not be willing to reuse and recycle buildings the way they do in Europe and elsewhere. I remember the way the attempted to blow up the Woolworth building in Minnesota but were unable to because it was so well built. Seems that if it is that well built they could figure out a way to use it for another purpose.

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

In terms of function, this is just another arena designed before luxury boxes were required, but in terms of architecture, it ranks among the definitive minimalist, modernist structures ever built. Along with Pompidou center in Paris, it exemplifies a period of architecture in which the building was turned inside out.It retains the inverted massing and slab sidedness of brutal modern, but combines it with the inversion of exoskeleton and massive surface emphasis that leap frogged post modernism, by asserting a proto engineered-functionalism that foreshadowed what Renzo Piano has taken to greatness the last 10-15 years. This building is both fantastically important in architectural legacy, but also uniquely adaptable to re-use of parts of it.

If anyone had an ounce of brains (and I know the Anschutz people have such if it were properly called to their attentions), they would dismantle the above ground structure, or at least significant portions of it, and move it to one of four locations and recycle it:

1) downtown KC for expanded convention show space;

2) a small pad adjacent to the stock car race track facility, so that it would use race track parking and be near the airport (the most competitive use of it because it would make it an ideal location for D1, D2, NAIA, AAU tourneys, to say nothing of countless other kinds of expositions and conventions;

3) a site in Johnson County, so that KC could finally get another NBA franchise and actually support it; or

4) a site in Lawrence where Self's non profit and the Boothe's and so on could each summer begin to stage the Naismith World Basketball Tournament in the combined facilities of AFH, Boothe-Self Arena, and Sprint Center, while also being used to stage large Super Conference (16 team and larger tourneys) and Super Preseason tournies in three day time windows, plus all the sundry other uses that could be attracted to metro Kansas City that would rather be in a great college town than in KC.

Personally, I would opt for Scenario 4, because I am so pro KU and pro developing a Naismith World Basketball Tournament in Lawrence that would bring together great teams from all around the world to compete in a pure basketball milieu.

Rock Chalk!!!

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

Note: in any re-uses requiring luxury boxes, then of course my assumption is that the re-use of the external structure and certain internal elements would be undertaken with redesign and re-engineering to include luxury boxes.

It is insane to pay new prices for structural steel and "from scratch" design and engineering, when this fabulous girder system is available at scrap prices to be moved to nearby locations. Hell, they could probably float sections of the girders up the KAW to Lawrence. Can't recall if its barge navigable up to Lawrence. The key here with the girder system is that it was welded from sections in the first place, and so cutting it up into sections, moving it short distances and re-welding it would almost certainly be vastly cheaper than rolling out new sections and shipping them from distant mills, or from China, and then transporting them overland from the coast to KC and then still having to weld them and crane them into place. If ever there were a structure that ought to be recycled, this is it.

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

I figure they've tried the Sprint Center as a magnet to attract the NBA and its failed, so maybe its time to try JoCo.

Might not work either. Just throwing it out.

Kind of hoping OakvilleJHawk weighs in as an architect. He might think it was all pointless due to practicalities I'm not privvy to.

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

"Crisis in Rebounding and PG Play, or Not?"

Part 1

leonard pointed out to me that on a prior thread that KU did not speed OSU up; that Coach Fertig is playing a faster version, rather like what John Thompson 2.0 coaches at Georgetown, I suppose. I stand corrected.

Next, leonard (and many others, including Coach Self) say we are getting whipped at the point. They point to Kinney of SJSU and Starks of OSU going off from trey, while EJ got only 6-10 points or so.

I say EJ got only 6-10 points or so, but add in 9 assists against OSU and that's 24-28 points or so out of the point against OSU!!!

EJ whipped Starks. Period.

Next, as Self admitted, Naadir, Travis, Adams, Evan Manning and probably Ben Mac have all taken turns trying to shackle these point guards that have hurt us.

We know why EJ has problems guarding them. He is working with roughly 1.5 knees. What's the problem with the other guys? Naadir is not a very sound defender and Evan is just coming off an injury and so just getting his feet wet. But Travis and Ben are defensive wizards. What gives? Well, Travis did okay for awhile, but then didn't. And Ben goes into foul trouble when he has to do a lot of on ball work. Still, Travis and Ben ensure we have guys that can credibly guard a point down the stretch. Further, I didn't think EJ was doing such a bad job on any of these guys.

Recall over the years guys go off sometimes.

Recall over the years also that the guys that tend to go off on KU are the guys KU has the least answer for.

Look at this year's KU team.

Who, or maybe more accurately, where, would you attack?

What I notice is that opponents are attacking KU out front no matter who is guarding out front. Why is that?

The initials are JW.

OSU's Fertig said as much, when he said we weren't going to go in there and challenge him.

And I doubt Fertig is the first to have this insight.

Attack out front as far from Withey as you can.

Attack away from the wings where our best defenders start out.

Attack the point, where our starter is hobbled, and our back up point is not very sound defensively. Force KU to switch some one off the wings to the point, then move your point to wing point and attack there.

My point here is that KU is no fun to try to score on at the 2, 2, 4, or 5.

So teams take an inordinate amount of shots at the 1.

Count up the FGAs and you will see.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 11 months ago

what does Justin Wesley have to do with it?

Ohhh, Withey... I get it

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

Part 2

And so when someone takes a ton of shots from one position, because they think its their only shot at winning, then on the nights the guy has a hot hand, he's going to score a lot of points, and he's even going to score a lot on less hot nights because they are going to keep playing through him, because challenging Withey is a dead end.

And the opponents on their best night (vs.OSU) are only shooting in the low 40s).

So we win.

Try to score inside on KU and you instantly lose the disruption stat by a huge margin, which 9 times out of ten means you lose the game, unless KU can't hit anything and you are hot.

The only way Fertig found to stay in the game was take away Jeff's shot blocking and hope his point guard had a hot hand. OSU played it as good as they possibly could have and they still lost, largely because KU let them get on the offensive glass for too many stick backs.

Self needs to stand pat with the scheme, and wait for EJ to heal, or Self has to say EJ is not going to heal and go to a zone.

Next to rebounding. Too often board rats compare total rebounds and say KU is only outrebounding the opposition a little. Wrong.

Compare defensive rebounding and KU holds a sizeable edge and appears to be getting better at it.

KU has had trouble with curbing offensive rebounding of opponents. But the problem is not as big as it seems. KU's defense is so effective that opponents are missing a lot and so getting lots of offensive rebound opportunities. So: their offensive rebound number is inflated by at least 2-3 rebounds per game by the greater number of opportunities.

Next, on the games that opponents have gotten a sizeable amount of offensive rebounds it is triggered by two things IMHO.

First, it has been against long and strongs which necessarily pose problems for KU's skinny minnies. But that is only part of it.

Second, teams recognizing how tough it is to score on KU, and to stop KU, are trying to send 3 and 4 guys to the offensive glass to try to maximize their chances when they get them.

This is why Self suddenly woke up a couple games ago and said we've got to start running. Unsaid was: we're too skinny to stay with the tall and strongs when they send 3-4 to the glass, so we've got to make them pay in transition for doing so.

All in all I don't think KU is in as deep of trouble as others and as Coach Self thinks. KU can't win against the best teams until it gets more defensive control of the point, but until then it can win a lot and wait for EJ to heal.

cool_beans 6 years, 11 months ago

have you guys seen that Skyfall movie it's really good

Kontum1972 6 years, 11 months ago

LoL...i quit watching....two years ago.....or was it 3...?

Kontum1972 6 years, 11 months ago

mb daniel craig can teach the boys how to jump....LoL!

cool_beans 6 years, 11 months ago

Top 3 James Bond 1. Roger Moore 2. Daniel Craig 3. Sean Connery

Kye Clark 6 years, 11 months ago

Gonna be a slow week with our next game not until Saturday. Barring some breaking news, it will be up to the posters to keep the topics coming and the discussions fresh. Here are some topics I think are better left avoided:

  1. Re-hashing the Brady debates
  2. Listing all the line-up permutations for the '14-'15 season and beyond
  3. ahperse's reasons why Turner Gill should have been fired sooner (or not hired at all)
  4. All the armchair English PHDs critiquing Keegan's articles
  5. Politics (it was nauseating on the Lucas article)

Did I miss anything?

RJ King 6 years, 11 months ago

this leaves room for one more in the top ten:

6) rankings don't matter

7) the zach peters concussion conspiracy

8) milton doyle and

9) university of kansas vs. kansas university

Jack Wilson 6 years, 11 months ago

ict .. ok, try this .. How about bringing in Joshua Smith at semester? We've got the open scholarship. Sounds like Self is assuming we'll have another one open at least if we get a spring surprise out of Randle.

Lots of motivation for him to get better. We have a terrific trainer. Is there any downside?

Note -- I'm not advocating it. Just a thought.

Joe Baker 6 years, 11 months ago

"Him" who? Smith? Self won't touch that plague with a 10' pole. I don't want any of that UCLA funk at KU. He's struggled at UCLA for some time now. He would have to sit out too. I think it would be a total waste of paper.

I wonder how Parker likes it now at UCLA. It's not the dream team he once thought during his recruiting process. Howland is about to get canned and it will be interesting where Parker lands. My guess is, he'll go closer to home.

Kye Clark 6 years, 11 months ago

Hmm...well, I guess the downside is he ties up a scholarship and is a total waste of everyone's time. Also, coming from the UCLA culture, the potential to be a locker room cancer is there, particularly with what is bound as young of a team as Self has had since the '05-'06 season. Could be toxic.

But might be worth the risk. If he came now he'd have a year to get in better shape. If I were Self I'd pass. If he jumped at something like that it would be very telling about what he thinks he has with our current bigs.

Alohahawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Josh Smith, worth the risk and get into better shape? LOL!!! The whole time's he's been at UCLA he's never lost any significant weight. Sure, he might do better under Hudy. But the major problem with that is: A person has to want to lose weight and get stronger. Smith has never (I repeat, NEVER) shown any inclination or willpower to do so.

He could have been a very good player: Soft hands and a mountain in the middle. But come on!!! He'd never fit into Self's work ethic regimen.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 11 months ago

I agree with ict, but I can easily see how you could form an argument that it may not hurt to try. How much eligibility does he have remaining? Could he reasonably hurt our chances at getting Randle or some other top recruit in 2013?

He couldn't be as bad a teammate as Reeves Nelson or as Renardo Sidney was at Miss State.

RJ King 6 years, 11 months ago

It seems like most/all of our 2012 and 2013 recruits are solid kids with great work ethic, also smart with strong family support - the types that will be fine on their own without senior leadership (which they won't have). Coincidence? Or calculated HCBS design?

I don't want our standard to be "not as bad as Reeves Nelson." Pass on Smith.

jaybate 6 years, 11 months ago

Skyfall was great and I was so relieved there wasn't a sex scene between M and James!!!! :-)

AsadZ 6 years, 11 months ago

ict, How about AW3 and Teahan comparison. I was behind on some articles and just finished reading very interesting comments on AW3/Tehan comparison from earlier in the week. I will post my comments separately in a day or two.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 11 months ago

Bonjourno, my fellow posters..just got my brothers and my 90 year old, birthday boy Dad all back home after an early Family Xmas and birthday party, so I will be brief.

1] Jaybate's concept of recycled structures is not only doable, but shockingly under-utilized around the world.

2] Something WILL come up to take away the "posting boredom" mentioned by icthawk316.

3] Defense is a concern, however blowing big leads may be, in the long run, the much more toxic topic.

4] Only 19 more days to the end of the world...have you all finished your post-apocolypse shopping yet??? I'm still waitng for my 10, 000 rounds of 30-0-6 ammo.

5] Posting Hall of Fame - "Is the Sprint Center the same as the former Kemper Arena..." [unless this was truly a sincere question!!]

Curtis Stutz 6 years, 11 months ago

Hope your dad had a happy 90th Oak. I'm guessing the Sprint question was legit, but let's not forget that tons of arenas have changed sponsors and therefor names over the past 5 years, so it's not such an off the wall question. I kind of hope nothing comes up to take away the posting boredom, other than maybe Self being quoted as saying one of the backup pg's really turned a corner in practice this week/made huge strides. That or discussion of other teams that have games this week. Not a great start for UK or UNC, hopefully KU can add a little distance from UNC and gain some ground on UK in the all-time wins category this year.

cool_beans 6 years, 11 months ago

remember that scene in Skyfall where M dies. i was all like (joey lawrence style) whoa!

Kye Clark 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm sure there are message boards for movie aficionados. Or Daniel Craig fanboy websites.

Kelly Hanrahan 6 years, 11 months ago

First or second round games in Kansas City? I think it would be second or third round games given the expanded brackets last year and the "play in" games being called the first round.

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